Five years ago in the NFL, the draft would be a part of each teams rebuilding process. Teams would draft players that would sit behind veteran players to get them ready to play. They would learn the ins and outs of the game and be mentored by older players. Perfect example is Aaron Rodgers sitting behind Brett Favre in Green Bay. Rodgers got his shot a few seasons back and he ran with it, winning a Super Bowl and league MVP. Even the two-time Super Bowl MVP, Eli Manning sat behind veteran quarterback Kurt Warner before he got his chance.
Times have changed though and the NFL is all about, “what have you done lately?” Players are drafted not to just start but to perform right away. They don’t get that time to sit and learn from a veteran player. For some players it works for them, like 2011 first overall draft pick Cam Newton. He was able to start from day one, and ended up the offensive rookie of the year this past season. However, it hasn’t always worked out. New York jets quarterback Mark Sanchez was a first round draft pick, and he was thrown into a starting role from day one. He has not been efficient as everyone had hoped, and going into this off-season with people wondering if he is the right guy. If Sanchez would have been able to sit behind a veteran quarterback, and learn the game he may be sitting in a great spot in his career.
So that brings me to my question; if Manning is healthy to play, would the Colts consider drafting Justin Blackmon over Andrew Luck?
I know its a crazy question, but lets think about it. Manning is a veteran, future hall of fame quarterback that may be one of the best at that position we have ever seen. Blackmon could come in and be very efficient and help bring the Colts back to the Super Bowl in his first year. If they drafted Blackmon he would bring his 6’1″ , 215 frame to the already talented receiving core. If the Colts were to draft Blackmon, that may help the re-signing of Reggie Wayne, which would be a great receiver for Blackmon to learn from. He had 1522 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns this past season at Oklahoma State. He also had a breakout game on the National stage when everyone was watching for Luck. He showed everyone why he should be considered for that first overall pick. In the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl he had 8 catches for 186 and 3 touchdowns. No one really took his talents too seriously until that night. He sure showed everyone, looking like a man among boys that night. Many analyst said that he looked like a more talented Terrell Owens without the drama.
Bottom line is the Colts need to win now, and they can’t wait to see what happens with Luck. Blackmon is a baller and a wide receiver you cannot pass on. If the Colts don’t draft him they just passed on a sure thing. It is much easier to adjust to the NFL as a wide receiver compared to a quarterback.
So in April, when the Colts make that decision, they need to think about who gives them the best chance to win today, not tomorrow.
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